It is hard to believe that 2017 is already almost over. It seems like just yesterday that we were discussing how to amend our digital strategies, and client services, to align with industry advancements and technological changes and challenges for the year. Now we’re assessing the year that’s gone by and started to gear up for 2018.
First, we’ll assess what 2017 promised to deliver and what we actually saw in the digital marketing space. Then we’ll explore what’s in store for 2018- which promises to be a year of progress in some areas and rapid change in others.
Highlights of 2017’s Digital Marketing Trends
Marketing departments across industries reported in a 2016 poll taken by Smart Insights that content marketing and big data were the most important and digital marketing methods in 2017. 40% of businesses have found ROI in some kind of content strategy. However, right behind content marketing as a priority, which was top rated by 20% of businesses polled by Smart Insights, was big data. Why? Personalisation is one reason. Content is king, but personalisation is queen. When individuals feel that the content they consume is relevant and important, they’ll engage more often. But your personalisation can only be as good as the data you gather and utilise.
Another highlight of 2017 was the relatively new shift to mobile marketing. As more and more consumers use mobile rather than desktop, revising every element of your marketing and communications strategy, from making your website mobile-friendly to ensuring that you run mobile advertising campaigns, has been an increasing priority.
Speaking of mobile marketing, influencers including models, actors and relatively “normal” people with huge social media followings really made a mark in 2017. Although there were a few hiccups in how to regulate influencer advertising posts (such as the Fyre Festival), influencers are clearly here to stay, particularly as outbound marketing trends down for many brands.
Finally, virtual and augmented reality content (VR and AR, respectively), including advertisements, made a splash, particularly for mobile advertising and content platforms. 71% of customers feel that brands that use virtual and augmented reality are forward-thinking. In addition, the days when “engagement” was simply on a customer’s Twitter post have long gone. Brands have been looking at VR and AR as ways to bridge the engagement gap, but in 2017, according to Hubspot, many reported that a VR strategy would be too technically difficult (not to mention expensive) to implement. Thus, ideas were left at just that, and little has been done to move things forward when it comes to using virtual and augmented reality for most brands.
What to anticipate in 2018
2018 promises some exciting continuities with 2017, as well as several developments. The biggest continuity that we see? Mobile is here to stay. Planning your marketing strategy around mobile, or at least having a standalone marketing strategy, is now a must, particularly since Google continues full steam ahead with its index.
But as you think through your mobile (and desktop!) digital strategy, here are the big trends we see on the horizon.
1) Micromoments: think about the last time you wanted information, quickly. More than likely, rather than log in to your desktop, you reached for your mobile phone, as 96% of us do. This is known as a “micromoment” and these are becoming far more common. These moments can, in fact, become critical touchpoints with customers: you can already see it with Think with Google, customers expect brands to provide reliable information regardless of the time and location.
2) Augmented/virtual reality content: as we discussed above, more and more users perceive that companies that use AR and VR are cutting edge, even as companies only see these mechanisms as cost sinks. But some brands are really thriving at the VR game, and this will continue through 2018. For example, Ikea has created an augmented reality product catalogue and augmented reality app, Ikea Place. Users can now not picture in their minds how their new furniture might look in their living spaces, but experience it first hand, taking a photo of the room they want to furnish and seeing how different pieces of furniture would look in it. What a great way to convert sales, particularly online!
3) E-wallets for e-commerce: taking a cue from the government of Singapore, there’s a big push to go cashless, with e-wallets being a big trend for 2018. Not only will you see mobile card payments accepted in more physical shops, you’ll notice security mechanisms for e-wallets expand greatly. How does this help the marketer? More customers, primed to pay, with more ways to do it.
4) Beacon and proximity marketing: if 2015 was all about geolocation and geolocated advertising, 2018 is going to be all about beacon and proximity marketing. Bluetooth beacons allow marketers to transmit targeted and relevant messages and information to nearby mobile devices. Think about UberEats, which can send push notifications about restaurant specials to customers in a certain kilometre radius, or shops that can send special, targeted offers to customers as they enter, walk through or linger in specific departments American drugstore chain Rite Aid recently rolled out beacons to provide customers with targeted discounts and other specials.
5) Chatbots: virtual assistants animated by AI help customers with their answers in real-time. Using customer data, these chatbots can offer customers and potential clients support, guidance, and can automate recurrent tasks so humans can focus on adding more value customer operations and other fields.
6) AI/Machine Learning: almost 100% of business leaders feel that the future of marketing will be forged by smart humans, but assisted by machine learning-based automation. Machine learning can help marketers who need to shift their strategy quickly to align with consumer behaviour; for instance, the healthcare industry has used machine learning software to patient medical data and provide recommendations and information in alignment with personal data. There are other AI tools available that can start to optimise when to send emails, post social media links and other marketing activities.
7) Dark Social: people no longer engage on social by posting links to articles, videos and sharing gifs and memes. Instead, they are also using less monitored channels including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, email, etc. In fact, 84% of outbound sharing is done on dark social, rather than public-facing profiles, and almost 50% of consumers over the age of 55 share social material only on dark social channels. Thus, it is important to take these channels into consideration in 2018 as you plan out your social media strategy, lest you underreport how effective social really is.
8) Influencer Marketing: as we saw above, influencer marketing really is here to stay. We used to call this “word of mouth” marketing back before 2016 or so, but now if you can get people, particularly those with large social followings, to sing your company’s graces, you’ll definitely have better brand equity and more than likely have new customers.
Image courtesy of http://42works.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/influencer-marketing1.jpg
These trends are driven by market and thus could vary across regions. For example, QR codes trended in Singapore recently via WeChat. However, we believe that the basis for digital marketing trends in 2018, worldwide, will be pushed by mobile use and brand’s response to it, regardless of what the strategy details look like.
What other elements do you think we’ve missed? Please drop us a line in the comments below to let us know!
Often, we find ourselves thinking and talking about how we could improve our customer relationship. How can you build your relationship with your customers? For a start, what do you think they want? According to Author Scott McKain in his book “What customers really want”, they are:
1. Compelling experience – emotional connection, for a compelling experience transcending transactions, loyalty is assured. Customer satisfaction: reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy … Get it right, not make it right!
2. Personal focus – Customers don’t buy a product but what it will do for them. Focus on their unique needs, challenges – not your own products/services. Today’s mass customization – anything digitized can be customized.
3. Reciprocal Loyalty — Endless prospecting instead? Doesn’t matter how many new customers you bring if you are losing more. Customer retention – vital for ongoing success.
4. Differentiation – Customers buy value/benefit. What makes your product/service special? Strategy : create a compelling competitive advantage by developing through your product/service, a unique aspect of your connection with customers.
5. Coordination – Improper communication, inadequate experience with the product/service, discrepancy between the experience the customer expects and that actually delivered, info spread about you by competition – create uncertainty. Live up to the expectation that has been created in your customer’s mind through marketing!
6. Innovation – “Wow” factor. Efforts on improvements only, status quo or disregarding innovation – merely accepting the good, not taking a shot at becoming great. Good is the enemy of Great – Jim Collins, Good to Great!
Think about your most important customers and tell us (without revealing names) what you think they really want?
1. You are a freelance professional and you have a whole host of short-term engagements to choose from.
2. If you are an employer, you can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than normal.
In this digital age of ‘sharing’ and ‘on-demand’ economy where temporary, flexible jobs are trending upwards due to changing demands from companies and a shift in employees’ mindsets as they become increasingly mobile, these scenarios are not just for idle imagination!
Andrew Yap, chief executive officer of InnoBay Group and serial entrepreneur, saw this space and has created AceLancer Bay, a human capital website for the contract professional and self-employed including lawyers, architects, software developers and plumbers.
Andrew says: “With the current reality that people tend to change jobs several times throughout their working lives and our Singapore government is anticipating the rapid rise of this new economy generation, society is evolving to see freelancing not as a compromised option but as a viable career of choice. I see a new profession rising, the serious professional freelancer whom we call AceLancer on our integrated online platform.”
AceLancer Bay matches professionals with organizations that require their services on short term who might otherwise be too high-priced to maintain on staff for specific projects or fulfill their project delivery obligations to stay competitive or afloat to ride out the economic storm. All to suit today’s economy that is part of a shifting cultural and business environment that includes a sharing economy. Besides, work can be done from anywhere because jobs and locations have decoupled.
From the perspective of the professional freelancer, it can improve work-life balance as he or she chooses the jobs of interest, rather than be forced into a position where, unable to attain employment, they pick up whatever temporary jobs they can land.
In short, AceLancing gives the employer flexibility and the employee a sense of control in his own career development.
As the name implies, AceLancer Bay aims to be the platform for a safe harbour and home of sorts for the well-respected professional freelancers to get together, who choose to work as AceLancers, and also for fresh graduates who are finding their professional niche before deciding which one.
Andrew says: “We call them AceLancers because they are freelancers in their respective professions who are top in their jobs, an Ace to employers, and serious about AceLancing with us. They must have the tenacity to succeed and work towards a sustainable career plan. AceLancing is not for the casual worker and we do not encourage part-time work if you already have a full-time job as it might affect your performance”.
AceLancer Bay also aspires to be the platform to engage and build a community of independent professionals who can market their services, network, make contacts and even collaborate to leverage on the synergy of their various skill sets to take on resource intensive projects which one ‘working in silo’ would otherwise not be able to take up.
Andrew says: “The forum is in fact one of the more significant aspects of our integrated online platform with members sharing their challenges, such as payment issues or pricing, instead of being exploited as a less informed individual. Forums could also cover otherwise out-of-reach services – legal advice, for example – that an individual with limited resources is seeking.
How does AceLancer Bay work? For the employer, all he or she needs to do is to go to the AceLancer website www.AceLancerBay.com to register with the details of the company even if the job description is not in hand just yet. Registration is free until 31st December 2017. For the professional, acelance your details today for free. (No time limit).
Andrew adds: “As the way we work in this new economy catches on, I look forward to the day when AceLancer becomes the generic word for the professional freelancer – just like “WhatsApp me” has come to mean “Message me”!
Issued by AceLancer Bay, part of the InnoBay Group Pte Ltd, an innovative integrated and IoT marketing consultancy.
For more information, contact:
Include media interviews with Andrew Yap here
Play your ace card and stay engaged on AceLancer Bay.
Mobile application developers are thriving in this age of digital technology, as evident in the influx of mobile apps every day. However, have you wondered why some apps are downloaded by majority while some becomes ignored and discarded? What makes an app so popular and wildly sought after, even if it doesn’t bring the same fun and entertainment like Pokemon Go? Let me tell you why:
Unique idea or feature
The app’s idea is original and unique, which will capture the interests of the crowd and prompt them to try as there are no similar apps in the market. Nothing will stop them as downloading an app now is so convenient and hassle-free nowadays. Even if there was a similar app already, a unique feature will still entice users to switch to your app.
Focus on the core
An app does not need to have too many features, which can be a major distraction to the intended purpose of the app. Instead, focus on being user-friendly and the core feature(s) of the app, then execute it perfectly. When the basics of the app is done right and the users start coming in, switch your focus to add value with more features.
Solve a problem
Your app must exist solely for one reason; to solve an existing problem. The crowd will definitely start downloading when they notice an app that will benefit them and help with their daily struggles. For example, AceConnectMe is a e-Business card mobile app that aims to completely do away with physical business cards so your wallets will not get stuffed, as well as not needing to waste precious time by keying contact details individually into your phone. It is also free to use so you can save on printing costs!
Just uploading your app to Google Play and App Store does not guarantee downloads. Marketing should be done in advance before the app is done, so you can create the hype and get the downloads as soon as your app is uploaded to various platforms. Thereafter, continue your marketing efforts by running various campaigns, such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, which are highly effective tactics frequently used by digital marketers to advertise a company/product/service.
Any marketer should have heard of Google Adwords and its wonderful lead-generating capabilities. However, the advertising trends are rapidly changing and Google Adwords have already taken note of this with the plan of implementing a few changes (listed below) to its long-standing platform.
1) Change to expanded text Ads from standard Ads(Already implemented)
In May 2016, Google announced its reformatting of ads to help consumers and advertisers succeed in a mobile-first world. The new format, called Expanded Text Ads, allows for 23% more text. This new format is available on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display network. It features two headlines with 30 characters each, to replace the single headline of 25 characters. The new description also allows 80 characters and replaces the two descriptions lines of 35 characters each. The display URL has been replaced with two 15 character paths, and the characters do not include the root domain. Emojis, and other uncharacteristic characters, are not allowed and reviews can be requested.
2) Able to bid uniquely based on device
You would be able to set mobile bids, desktop bids and tablet bids individually or make them connected to each other. This would allow more control based on each device that you wish to target.
3) Responsive display Ads
Google would be able to figure out automatically what format is best for your ad depending on where it is displayed. This would save the hassle of creating multiple formats of the same ad.
4) Ads to appear in Google maps
Google maps has a huge user base and they plan to leverage on that and show ads, for example a company logo and if someone clicks on the logo, they can see the offer or promotion that company is offering. This could be a big boost for businesses as if a consumer searches the vicinity in Google maps, they would be able to see your ad if they are nearby and could come physically to your store.